BRUSSELS – According to data published by Eurostat, the European Union’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plummeted by 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020, in comparison to the same period last year.
“GDP down by 3.8% in the euro area and by 3.5% in the EU, -3.3 % and -2.7% respectively compared with the first quarter of 2019,” Eurostat said in a statement, according to Sputnik.
Eurostat added that these were the sharpest declines observed since 1995. Multiple European Union member states have started releasing GDP figures showing the devastating impact of lockdown measures on jobs and businesses, imposed to battle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the day, the French national statistics agency reported that the country had fallen into a recession after its GDP contracted 5.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020. It is the sharpest quarterly drop since 1949 and is mainly due to its strict stay-at-home measures in place since March 17.
Spain, which is the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy and one of the worst-affected countries by the virus has seen a by 5.2 percent fall in its GDP. At the same time, Germany expects to lose 12 percent of its GDP in the second quarter as the country’s economic output has plunged by 16 percent.
European Union, the world’s largest (and the most ineffectual) bureaucratic empire, has been widely criticized for its atrocious (mis)handling of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in most EU member states. This is especially true for EU’s Mediterranean member states, with Italy and Spain being hit the hardest.
EU leadership initially outright ignored Italy’s and Spain’s please for help, while later adding insult to injury with statements that called for both countries to “deal with their own issues”. Italy was the first to react by asking both China and Russia for help, with both superpowers promptly responding to Italy’s request.
The developments led to an expected fall of support for the EU throughout the continent and a sharp rise in Euroscepticism, with many people openly calling for the EU to be dissolved. This raised the alarm in Brussels, as its bureaucrats were terrified of the prospect of losing their positions and caused a much-belated response.